What to Do with Kale?

I have to admit that my main reason for growing kale is aesthetic. The purple kale is just to gorgeous not to grow. The main reason we planted it in our community garden plot was because it was available (leftovers from Garden Show), and we thought it would be a good sacrificial offering to the rabbits. (Sidenote: the rabbits preferred eating the tomato plants to the kale. Is that a sign?)

When I make the suggestion of eating the kale, my husband helpfully wrinkles up his nose and says, “Mmm…green.” And he’s right, of course – Kale is an extremely nutritious, dark green leafy vegetable. (DGLV’s as a nutrition guru might call them.) Somehow, I don’t think that’s what my husband was getting at though.

Mature kale is rather fibrous, chewy, and definitely has a strong flavor (especially raw). So what to do to get all those good vitamins, minerals, and fiber into your stomach when you’ve got a bumper crop? Here are my favorite 2 options.

1. Kale Chips

Kale chips are so easy, and very tasty. You just wash and dry the kale, tear it into bite-sized pieces, and toss it with just enough olive oil to give it a light coating. Then you bake them at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy. The difference between soggy/limp and crispy is usually just a minute or two, so keep a close eye on them! Once they start to turn brown, they will taste bitter. Once they are crispy, just put them on a paper towel to blot any extra oil and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you want. I like a dash of cayenne pepper.

2. White Bean, Sausauge, and Kale Soup

This isn’t my all-time favorite soup, but it a nice fall staple. I didn’t use a recipe this time, just browned up some diced onion, carrot, and celery with some garlic for good measure. Then I browned the sausage, and then a few mushrooms. We had some beans left from another recipe, so those went into the pot with the veggies and the meat. I used beef stock for the broth. I added salt and pepper to taste, as well as other seasonings that I felt like. I ended up using a Greek Seasoning that had cinnamon and peppermint in it, which wasn’t exactly what I was going for, but actually tasted really good! The mushrooms and the kale were added about 10 minutes before serving to get nice and tender. Yum!

These are the two ways that I use kale the most. How do you use kale (other than for garnish)?

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on November 14, 2011, in Harvesting & Eating and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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